It’s interesting how certain aspects of something that is otherwise deadly or at the very least toxic to the human body in one form, can potentially hold the secret to the cure for one of the most feared and often talked about diseases that plague the human race today : cancer.
I’m talking about the toxic venom of bees and snakes, which most people are allergic to in varying degrees. In very allergic individualy, a bite by one of these animals can cause severe allergic reactions up to and including death. Many people are so allergic they have to carry around a portable injection pen in case they are stung by a bee, or a certain type of stinging insect.
Breast cancer is one of the big cancers that was mentioned in a couple of writes ups recently about a promising new technology involving bee and snake venom that may help to slow down or stop the growth of certain types of cancer cells, including breast cancer cells.
Since these venoms aren’t selectively toxic in the body in their “whole form”, they needed to identify and then figure out how to isolate certain compounds within the venom that was identified as being excellent at slowing the growth of cancer cells. If you were to simply inject someone with the whole venom without isolting these beneficial compounds out, you would have side effects, just as people do today with chemotherapy.
Of course the whole idea is to target only the cancer cells, and treatments that still make you sick and result in a wide array of unpleasant and life-altering side effects is not the desired outcome. This is why the venom discovery is so exciting.
They’re looking at a way to camouflage the compounds and prevent the harmful parts of the venom from coming out and attaching the body’s defenses, and the results are looking pretty good. They’re seeing where the isolated compound is able to target and stop the growth of fast growing cancer cells so far.
They are also working at better ways to synthesize the compounds so that they don’t need to use the real thing found in the venom, and this would also ensure that the other consituents of the venoms that are toxic would not be present. The whole trick of looking a alternative ways to treat cancer is to find ways that are not toxic to other functions of the human body.
If someone can find a way to selectively treat and target only cancer cells, I believe we’d have something that could blow chemotherapy out of the water as the western medicine choice for treating most cancers. God willing!